Friday, April 10, 2009

Toll Tax Promoter Gov. Rick Perry to Crash 'Tea Party'

San Antonio Tea Party shouldn't limit protest to feds


Jaime Castillo
San Antonio Express-News
Copyright 2009

The organizers of a national wave of Tax Day Tea Parties next week have the right idea.

They say the nonpartisan demonstrations, including one in front of the Alamo on Wednesday, will gore every deserving ox — financial institutions that made bad loans, free-spending members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, and the past and current presidential administrations.


It's never a bad thing when Americans gather peaceably and scare politicians into thinking the public is starting to pay more attention to them than to “American Idol.”

But why stop at the federal government?

The thousands expected at the Alamo and other sites around Texas should tell the state's leadership what they think about them, too.

We know Gov. Rick Perry will be an interested party.

The long-serving Republican on Wednesday posted a YouTube video on his Web site.

“It's a day to get together with fellow patriots all across the state of Texas,” he tells viewers. “Send a message to Washington, D.C. Let 'em know what you think about the bailouts, all this stimulus, all this runaway spending that's going on.”

That's great. More power to the people.

But what's good for one bailout package should be good for all of them.

Ever since he became governor in 2000, Perry has overseen one bailout after another of the state budget on the back of the taxpayer-funded highway fund.

Once dedicated to nothing but building and maintaining state roads, the highway fund has become a piggy bank for state lawmakers to pay for items that have nothing to do with improving transportation and alleviating congestion.

The “stimulus” to nonhighway portions of the state budget totals $1.57 billion in the current two-year budget.

Perry has treated highway funding like an experiment in which he controls all the variables to get the outcome he wants.

The highway fund is running out of money, but the 20-cent-a-gallon gas tax, which has been static since 1991, is off-limits.

The highway fund is being raided, but neither Perry nor anybody else in state leadership has had the courage to make the tough decisions necessary to put a stop to it.

The solution? Perry's longstanding vision to build a network of toll roads to generate revenue for other projects.

If Gov. Perry wants Congress to live within its means, the best tea-party message he could send is to lead by example.

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